And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Who knew that three small oranges could turn out to be so valuable? You see, on April 15th, 1912 the Titanic sank. Those who built it had boasted that this ship was unsinkable. The passengers who boarded it, believed what they heard. As the ship began to sink that fateful day, a young woman found a place on a lifeboat that was about to be lowered into the North Atlantic. Suddenly she remembered she needed something and begged to be allowed to return to her stateroom. She was granted three minutes, and then the lifeboat would leave without her.
She raced across the tilting deck, through the gambling room where all the money had rolled to one side. Once inside her room, she pushed aside her diamond rings; she ignored her expensive bracelets and necklaces and reached for three small oranges. What mattered to her thirty minutes earlier had become worthless! Death had boarded the Titanic that fateful day, turning all values upside down. The young lady knew that her survival on that lifeboat depended on those three oranges.
Today you and I live in one of the richest and most powerful countries on earth. There are those who swear that this country is indestructible; perhaps as unsinkable as the Titanic. These are the ones who trust in their own workmanship. And for the time being, we feel lucky to live here, just like those lucky people who managed to get tickets to board the Titanic. To a large degree, despite the waves, we are sailing along smoothly and life is relatively wonderful. Society has given us cues for success; a good education; a high paying job; promotions and titles; a corner office; a car and a large house and so forth. These are the things we treasure today. But dear friend what if a Titanic-sized tragedy visited our shores? What would you depend on then?
Writing about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul summarizes the most important thus: “Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” God wants us to be prepared for our descent into the lifeboat. When our ship begins to tilt, (and may even now be tilting) we’ll need the right items in our survival bags. When the time comes to disembark, will you be prepared or will you be laden down with all the perishable treasures of this world? What does your life say about your values and about your readiness to disembark?
Faith, hope and love; three small oranges are all you will need for the journey. Choose wisely, so you are not left behind when the lifeboat leaves this sinking ship for safe harbor in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is all you need.
Heavenly Father, you are not willing that anyone should perish. Help me to align my values to your values. Remind me of the things that matter to you, so that I will not be swayed by the attractions of this world. Help me remember each day, that I am an alien in this world so I will not get comfortable with the status quo and the values of this life. Today, I choose faith in you; hope in your resurrection and love for you and for my fellow brothers and sisters. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.